Monday, October 16, 2017


You may believe that your chances of selling your MG novel to a publisher are contingent upon how well you tell a story.  You may be convinced that seeing your book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble will only come about if you create unforgettable characters.  You may have been told one hundred times that the originality of your voice will determine the destiny of your novel.  All this may indeed be true.  However, there is another factor that is just as important and is often overlooked.  That is your ability to handle rejection and not give up.

Nowhere is this more true than in the arduous process of finding an agent.
Every year, from Maine to California, thousands of writers give up the hope of finding an agent after receiving one or two rejections.  These writers have dedicated years of their lives and made innumerable sacrifices in order to complete a novel which they then  abandon after a couple of agents pass on the book. Please keep this in mind:


If twelve agents reject your manuscript, that's a different story.  If they all say the same thing, for example, that the story takes too long to get going, then it is your best interest to heed their advice and revise the book.

Tragically, many writers are so devastated by  rejection, they tuck the manuscript in the closet.  There it will sit for years or forever.
 Do not let this happen to you.
If you know in your heart that your book has merit and other people whose opinions you respect have told you the same thing, then keep on submitting it to agents.

If you have a manuscript in the closet, it is speaking to you right now.
Heed the muffled cries of a manuscript buried under three cardigans and a powder blue scarf.  Here is what your book is saying.  "Let me out.  Let me out.  I know I'm good enough.  Have faith in me.  I have the power to inspire children.  I'm ten times better than that other crap that's out there. I'm amazing.  Ok, Maybe I'm not perfect.  Maybe I run a bit long.  Maybe I'm overweight by twenty or thirty pages.  You can trim that flab around my tummy.
I'm not afraid to do literary sit-ups.  Come on.  Let's work together!"
Listen to your manuscript.  Have faith in the wisdom of the words.


  1. Sorry for the late comment, but I love this post. I especially love the ending where the manuscript is personified! Thanks for this inspiring post, James. :)

  2. I've been thinking about an MG manuscript in my closet and wondering if it's time to pull it out... Is that you, making that noise from under the bins of out-of-season clothes?

  3. I think I need to read this post at the start of every day!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!